Bolder and Older: Interview With Joy Wood
This month Joy Wood agreed to an interview. She and I met on a cruise earlier this year and both of us were surprised to discover we were sitting next to another romance writer. One of the first things I did on my return home was order her first book. Enjoying it to the extent have her second one on my list.
Joy, what did you do before deciding writing was where you wanted to be?
I am a trained nurse and have worked in health for 37 years before finally fulfilling my dream of writing my first novel. I’d always been a prolific reader with a secret desire to write, but of course, life got in the way!
How old were you when your first book published?
I was 55 years old when I published my first book. However, I used to take part in consumer competitions for a number of years writing witty slogans and ditties, and on occasions, I wrote a couple of short stories, particularly if the prize on offer was something I liked the look of!
Do you feel being older helped?
Mmmmm, probably. When I sent my first humble offerings to an editor, he emailed back and said my writing was dated as if I was a fifty year old woman. I quickly replied, “Yes, because that’s what I am!”
He then very kindly helped me to ‘modernize’ my storytelling by giving me writing exercises to do, (at a cost). Obviously the maturity of life experience helps, and the ability to look at things from more than one perspective. I’m not sure as a young woman I’d have been very good at that!
In, For the Love of Emily, your female lead is a lesbian prostitute. What gave you the idea? How did you research this lifestyle?
I wanted to write a story about prostitution, but it has been done so many times. So I went for a prostitute servicing females only. My main character has never really had sex with a man, until she meets Ezzio Marin. He is the rich billionaire; she is the poor prostitute with a secret. Emily, her precious twin sister is hidden away where nobody can find her. To pay for her keep, Rebecca creates beautiful dresses by the day, and works as ‘Kate’, a high class prostitute for female clients at night. One particular client, Darlene Milner (a rich gay socialite) becomes besotted with her. Darlene and Ezzio’s paths cross, and Rebecca’s secret comes out with dire consequences.
I did have to research lesbian sex – I’m constantly amazed exactly what you can get online. I did it covertly though, and deleted my search history incase my computer let me down and had to go in for repairs!
Your character has love scenes with a woman and a man. Where they difficult to write? Which one presented the most difficulty?
Rebecca had never had sex with a man, but is very experienced in satisfying women. Ezzio Marin doesn’t know that. When he first tries to make love to her (he blackmails her into going to bed with him), he thinks it’s ‘game on’ as she makes her living from prostitution. He is shocked when he realizes she isn’t experienced (with men) so I had to write about how he coaxes her into making love for the first time. My difficulty when writing about sex is trying to make it real and enjoyable for the reader. It was even harder because Rebecca hates Ezzio, but of course hate is very close to love. I want the sex to be believable, but it isn’t easy to write it and keep each scene fresh.
In terms of which is most difficult, it has to be the lesbian sex opposed to the heterosexual sex. But writing about any sex is difficult. My editor tells me a good writer makes the reader think they have a camera attached to their head, so as they are turning the pages, it will almost be like they are visualizing the story as it unfolds.
You also have another book out
Yes, I released my second book in November 2016 and I’m pleased to say looking at the reviews in the US and UK, and the sales, readers seem to be enjoying the story.
Your second book is Knight & Dey. Can you tell us a bit about the story and how it came to be?
When I released my first book (For the Love of Emily), there was lots of publicity in the local papers, and in the media. The public seemed to like the transition from nurse to writer (From Bedpan to Pen). At book signings people would ask if I was “the nurse that had written a book,” which of course I’d say I was. The next question without fail was, “Is ‘For the Love of Emily’ a medical romance. It isn’t, but I asked if they would like one, and many said they would. So, I decided my second novel would be a romance between a surgeon and a nurse, set in a local hospital.
The romance between Kathryn Knight and Finley Dey is fraught with difficulties, not least because Kathryn is happily married – or so it seems.
But this book is a little different in terms of one of the characters in the book is killed on the first page. But the reader will have no idea who it is, so I hope they will be eagerly turning the pages well into the night to find out who . . . and will be ‘gob smacked’ when it all unfolds.
What are you currently working on? Can you give us a glimpse?
I’ve just started work with my editor on my third novel. It’s written, but I send him 3 chapters each time and he sends them back with suggested re-writes if there are aspects not working. He has a wonderful saying, “Cut the fluff,” in reference to any parts that don’t add value to the story, and believe you me, I have plenty of fluff to cut!
The story is about a family who live in Chanjori House with one or two ‘skeletons in the cupboard.’ It’s fundamentally a romance, but suffice to say there is a lot of tension in the household. Some characters are endearing, while others are overbearing! I’m hoping to release it in September.
Where can readers reach you?
Do you have anything more you’d like to share with us?
In terms of the success I’ve achieved so far with two books (hopefully there will be plenty of time to write more, God willing), just two quotes really.
One from the charismatic John F Kennedy, “We must find time to thank the people who made a difference in our lives,” and another from my dear father, “No-one achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”
I would like someone to invent a new word to express gratitude that goes beyond the word ‘thanks.” I keep saying it, but it doesn’t seem enough to all the readers that have bought my books, reviewed them, and shared my marketing posts. I’m very fortunate, and so grateful to each and every one of them.
And I’m extremely appreciative for this opportunity to share my books with an American audience. Thank you so much. x
Columnist Lizzie T. Leaf: Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf started life in Kansas, sprung to adulthood in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado.
Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals. When she needs a touch of reality, her Contemporary Erotic Romances come into play. Her most recent release is Nordic Heat, available at http://amzn.to/1owng5k
If she’s not creating mischief for paranormal beings, or getting under the covers with her erotic heroes, she can be found exploring the other genres she wants to write. She is a member of RWA and has served as President for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers and VP of Programs.
Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband.